Pubdate: Tue, 23 Jul 2002
Source: New York Times (NY)
Section: Editorial/Op-Ed
Copyright: 2002 The New York Times Company
Author: Howard Josepher
Bookmark: (Rockefeller Drug Laws)


To the Editor:

Reading "The Ruinous Drug Laws," by Bob Herbert (column, July 18), I 
couldn't help but reflect upon my own experience as a drug abuser facing a 
prison sentence 35 years ago. This was before the enactment of the 
Rockefeller drug laws, and the New York State Supreme Court justice used 
his discretion to mandate me into drug treatment.

Treatment worked for me, and I went on to obtain a degree in social work 
and have, since then, helped thousands of people like me overcome their 

If the Rockefeller laws had been in effect back then, the court would have 
had no choice but to send me to prison for five years, most likely 
resulting in another wasted life. I made something of myself, and I can 
only hope that others be given the same opportunity. It's time to modernize 
our drug laws.

HOWARD JOSEPHER New York, July 18, 2002

The writer is executive director of Exponents, a not-for-profit 
organization that helps people with drug problems and AIDS.
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